根据话题对应，可重点结合TPO11 Orientation and Navigation; TPO15 A Warm-blooded Turtle; TPO16 Planets in our Solar System三篇文章阅读。
AGE OF THE EARTH[ http://pubs.usgs.gov/gip/geotime/age.html]
So far scientists have not found a way to determine the exact age of the Earth directly from Earth rocks because Earth's oldest rocks have been recycled and destroyed by the process of plate tectonics. If there are any of Earth's primordial rocks left in their original state, they have not yet been found. Nevertheless, scientists have been able to determine the probable age of the Solar System and to calculate an age for the Earth by assuming that the Earth and the rest of the solid bodies in the Solar System formed at the same time and are, therefore, of the same age.
The ages of Earth and Moon rocks and of meteorites are measured by the decay of long-lived radioactive isotopes of elements that occur naturally in rocks and minerals and that decay with half lives of 700 million to more than 100 billion years to stable isotopes of other elements. These dating techniques, which are firmly grounded in physics and are known collectively as radiometric dating, are used to measure the last time that the rock being dated was either melted or disturbed sufficiently to rehomogenize its radioactive elements.
Ancient rocks exceeding 3.5 billion years in age are found on all of Earth's continents. The oldest rocks on Earth found so far are the Acasta Gneisses in northwestern Canada near Great Slave Lake (4.03 Ga) and the Isua Supracrustal rocks in West Greenland (3.7 to 3.8 Ga), but well-studied rocks nearly as old are also found in the Minnesota River Valley and northern Michigan (3.5-3.7 billion years), in Swaziland (3.4-3.5 billion years), and in Western Australia (3.4-3.6 billion years). [See Editor's Note.] These ancient rocks have been dated by a number of radiometric dating methods and the consistency of the results give scientists confidence that the ages are correct to within a few percent. An interesting feature of these ancient rocks is that they are not from any sort of "primordial crust" but are lava flows and sediments deposited in shallow water, an indication that Earth history began well before these rocks were deposited. In Western Australia, single zircon crystals found in younger sedimentary rocks have radiometric ages of as much as 4.3 billion years, making these tiny crystals the oldest materials to be found on Earth so far. The source rocks for these zircon crystals have not yet been found. The ages measured for Earth's oldest rocks and oldest crystals show that the Earth is at least 4.3 billion years in age but do not reveal the exact age of Earth's formation. The best age for the Earth (4.54 Ga) is based on old, presumed single-stage leads coupled with the Pb ratios in troilite from iron meteorites, specifically the Canyon Diablo meteorite. In addition, mineral grains (zircon) with U-Pb ages of 4.4 Ga have recently been reported from sedimentary rocks in west-central Australia. The Moon is a more primitive planet than Earth because it has not been disturbed by plate tectonics; thus, some of its more ancient rocks are more plentiful. Only a small number of rocks were returned to Earth by the six Apollo and three Luna missions. These rocks vary greatly in age, a reflection of their different ages of formation and their subsequent histories. The oldest dated moon rocks, however, have ages between 4.4 and 4.5 billion years and provide a minimum age for the formation of our nearest planetary neighbor. Thousands of meteorites, which are fragments of asteroids that fall to Earth, have been recovered. These primitive objects provide the best ages for the time of formation of the Solar System. There are more than 70 meteorites, of different types, whose ages have been measured using radiometric dating techniques. The results show that the meteorites, and therefore the Solar System, formed between 4.53 and 4.58 billion years ago. The best age for the Earth comes not from dating individual rocks but by considering the Earth and meteorites as part of the same evolving system in which the isotopic composition of lead, specifically the ratio of lead-207 to lead-206 changes over time owing to the decay of radioactive uranium-235 and uranium-238, respectively. Scientists have used this approach to determine the time required for the isotopes in the Earth's oldest lead ores, of which there are only a few, to evolve from its primordial composition, as measured in uranium-free phases of iron meteorites, to its compositions at the time these lead ores separated from their mantle reservoirs. These calculations result in an age for the Earth and meteorites, and hence the Solar System, of 4.54 billion years with an uncertainty of less than 1 percent. To be precise, this age represents the last time that lead isotopes were homogeneous througout the inner Solar System and the time that lead and uranium was incorporated into the solid bodies of the Solar System. The age of 4.54 billion years found for the Solar System and Earth is consistent with current calculations of 11 to 13 billion years for the age of the Milky Way Galaxy (based on the stage of evolution of globular cluster stars) and the age of 10 to 15 billion years for the age of the Universe (based on the recession of distant galaxies).
Are Lizards Warm Blooded or Cold Blooded?[ http://www.animalquestions.org/reptiles/lizards/are-lizards-warm-blooded-or-cold-blooded/]
With a few exceptions all reptiles such as the lizard are cold blooded creatures. The temperature of an animal’s blood (whether an animal is warm blooded or cold blooded) is related to its body temperature.
Cold blooded creatures such as the lizard take on the temperature of their surroundings. In other words, they are hot when their environment is hot and cold when their environment is cold. In hot environments, cold blooded animals can have blood that is much warmer than warm blooded animals. Cold blooded animals are also much more active in warm environments and are very sluggish in cold environments. This is because their muscle activity depends on chemical reactions which run quickly when it is and slowly when it is cold. Cold blooded creatures such as the lizard can covert much more of its food into body mass compared to warm blooded animals.
Whereas many warm blooded animals sweat or pant to lose heat by water evaporation and can cool off by moving into a shaded area or getting wet, cold blooded animals such as the lizard often like to bask in the sun to warm up and increase their metabolism. While basking, these reptiles will be found lying perpendicular to the direction of the sun to maximize the amount of sunlight that falls onto their skin. In addition to this they will expand their rib cage to increase their surface area and will darken their skin to absorb even more heat.
When a lizard is too hot it will like parallel to the sun’s rays, go into a shady area, open its mouth up wide and lighten its skin color or burrow into the cool sand. Most reptiles such as the lizard have been known to hibernate occasionally during the cold winter months. Whereas warm blooded animals are able to remain active, seek food and defend themselves in a wide range of outdoor temperatures, cold blooded animals such as the lizard lack this ability and are only able to do so when they are warm enough. A cold blooded animal’s level of activity depends upon the temperature of its surroundings. A lizard will increase its body temperature before hunting and it is better able to escape from predators when it is warm. These creatures also need to be warm and active in order to find a mate and reproduce.
Do not be fooled however, being cold blooded does have its advantages as well. For instance, cold blooded animals require much less energy to survive than warm blooded animals do. Mammals and birds (warm blooded creatures) require much more food and energy than do cold blooded animals of the same weight. This is because in warm blooded animals, heat loss from their bodies is proportional to the surface area of their bodies, while the heat created by their bodies is proportional to the surface area of their bodies, the heat created by their bodies is proportional to their mass.
Furthermore, the ratio of a body’s surface area to its mass is less the larger the anima is. What this means is that larger, warm blooded animals are able to generate more heat than they lose and more easily able to keep their body temperatures stable. This in turn also makes it easier form them to stay warmer by being larger. This also means that if a warm blooded animal is toop small it will lose its heat faster than it can produce it. Since cold blooded animals don’t need to burn as much food to maintain a constant body temperature, they are more energy efficient and can survive longer periods of time without food than warm blooded creatures can. Many cold blooded creatures will try to keep their body temperatures as low as possible when food is scarce.
Cold blooded creatures also have the advantage of being less prone to infections than warm blooded animals. This lies in the fact that being a warm blooded body provides a warm environment for viruses, bacteria and parasites to reside. As a general rule, mammals and birds since they are warm blooded, are usually prone to more problems with infections and such than reptiles, whose constantly changing body temperature make life more difficult for bacteria, etc. to survive in.
Mammals do however; still have a stronger immune system than cold blooded animals. A reptile’s immune system is more efficient when the animal is warmer, however since bacteria are known to most likely grow slower in lower temperatures, reptiles will sometimes lower their body temperatures when they have an infection.
3、动物迁徙时脑海中的方位指示动物迁徙时如何找到方向。举了一种蝴蝶，冬天长，迁徙，夏天到，产卵，死亡，两三代后飞回。动物们如何辨别方向，方法一二三：看coast line， 鲸鱼跃出水面vertical，看星星之类 动物们为了适应太阳和天体的变化，自己有一个mechanical timing要随时调节，但是有一种鸟不用。如果阴天怎么办，鸽子可以根据地磁来飞行，相信以后会有更多的研究表明地磁很重要。
Monarch Migration[ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monarch_(butterfly)]
Monarchs are especially noted for their lengthy annual migration. In North America, they make massive southward migrations starting in August until the first frost. A northward migration takes place in the spring. The monarch is the only butterfly that migrates both north and south as the birds do on a regular basis, but no single individual makes the entire round trip. Female monarchs deposit eggs for the next generation during these migrations.
By the end of October, the population east of the Rocky Mountains migrates to the sanctuaries of the Mariposa Monarca Biosphere Reserve within the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt pine-oak forests in the Mexican states of Michoacán and México. The western population overwinters in various sites in central coastal and southern California, United States, notably in Pacific Grove, Santa Cruz, and Grover Beach.
The length of these journeys exceeds the normal lifespan of most monarchs, which is less than two months for butterflies born in early summer. The last generation of the summer enters into a nonreproductive phase known as diapause, which may last seven months or more. During diapause, butterflies fly to one of many overwintering sites. The overwintering generation generally does not reproduce until it leaves the overwintering site sometime in February and March.
The overwinter population of those east of the Rockies may reach as far north as Texas and Oklahoma during the spring migration. The second, third and fourth generations return to their northern locations in the United States and Canada in the spring. How the species manages to return to the same overwintering spots over a gap of several generations is still a subject of research; the flight patterns appear to be inherited, based on a combination of the position of the sun in the sky and a time-compensated Sun compass that depends upon a circadian clock based in their antennae. New research has also shown these butterflies can use the earth's magnetic field for orientation. The antennae contain cryptochrome, a photoreceptor protein that is sensitive to the violet-blue part of the spectrum. In the presence of violet or blue light, it can function as a chemical compass, which tells the animal if it is aligned with the earth's magnetic field, but it is unable to tell the difference between the magnetic north or south.
The complete magnetical sense is present in a single antenna. Monarch butterflies are one of the few insects capable of making trans-Atlantic crossings. They are becoming more common in Bermuda due to increased usage of milkweed as an ornamental plant in flower gardens. Monarch butterflies born in Bermuda remain year round due to the island's mild climate. A few monarchs turn up in the far southwest of Great Britain in years when the wind conditions are right, and have been sighted as far east as Long Bennington. In Australia, monarchs make limited migrations in cooler areas, but the blue tiger butterfly is better known in Australia for its lengthy migration. Monarchs can also be found in New Zealand. On the islands of Hawaii, no migrations have been noted.
Monarch butterflies are poisonous or distasteful to birds and mammals because of the presence of the cardiac glycosides contained in milkweed consumed by the larvae. The bright colors of larvae and adults are thought to function as warning colors. During hibernation, monarch butterflies sometimes suffer losses because hungry birds pick through them looking for the butterflies with the least amount of poison, but in the process kill those they reject.
One study examined wing colors of migrating monarchs using computer image analysis, and found migrants had darker orange (reddish-colored) wings than breeding monarchs.
Research also has overturned a prevailing theory that the migration patterns of the eastern and western populations are due to genetic reasons and that their genetic material was different. The American populations have been found to be distinct from the populations in New Zealand and Hawaii, but not from each other.